Party Finance Law in Australia: Innovation and Enervation
G Orr, 'Party Finance Law in Australia: Innovation and Enervation' (2015) 15 (1) Election Law Journal 13pp
Posted: 19 Apr 2016
Date Written: 2015
The drivers (and inhibitors) of political finance reform are complex and overlapping. The case of Australia is an intriguing one. By international standards, regulation of political finance at the national level in Australia is laissez-faire and inertial. Since 2010 however, half the states and territories have adopted holistic party finance systems designed to limit the influence of money in electoral politics. These reforms have included caps on expenditure and donations, generous public funding and tighter donation disclosure. This article explores both the emerging constitutional constraints on — and political drivers of — this flourishing of reform. Whilst there is evidence of party machines seeking security in enhanced public funding, there is limited evidence to support the cartel thesis. Overall these developments highlight the potential for experimentation and cross-fertilization in a federal system, suggesting that reform is episodic but infectious, rather than a manifestation of any inexorable forces.
JEL Classification: K00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation